There was the rare sound of applause in court — coming from Mick Philpotts’s own family members — as the judge finished sentencing.
“Die, Mick, die,” one shouted, while another called out: “Your own babies.”
In response, Philpott, 56, smiled and made an obscene gesture as he was led from the dock to begin his life sentence for killing six of his children in a plot to torch their family home that went disastrously wrong.
His 32-year-old wife Mairead was jailed for 17 years for the manslaughter of their children, in a case that has gripped Britain.
Judge Kathryn Thirlwall said Mick Philpott was a “disturbingly dangerous man”.
“You have no moral compass,” she told him.
Paul Mosley, who joined the couple for sexual encounters and was in on the plot, was also jailed for 17 years for manslaughter.
Philpott was told he would serve a minimum of 15 years and his wife and Mosley at least eight-and-a- half years over the deaths at the family home in Derby on May 11 last year.
All six children, aged from five to 13, died from smoke inhalation.
The Philpotts wept as they were jailed.
A jury found the trio guilty after an eight-week trial.
With 17 children in total by five different mothers, Philpott was already a nationally notorious figure, dubbed “Shameless Mick” by the press for his feckless lifestyle funded by hefty state welfare handouts.
Prosecutors said the couple set their home ablaze in a bid to frame Philpott’s 29-year-old former live-in girlfriend and claim custody of her five children — four of which he fathered.
She had left the house three months earlier, taking her children and leaving just six youngsters for whom Philpott could claim welfare payments.
Philpott was supposed to have rescued the sleeping children through a bedroom window — but the petrol-fuelled fire spread more quickly than planned and the window would not open.
Judge Thirlwall said the plot was “a wicked and dangerous plan” and was “outside the comprehension of any right-thinking person”. She said the children were subjected to a terrifying ordeal.
“Their terror was the price they were going to pay for your callous selfishness. In fact, they paid with their six young lives.”
She added: “Mercifully, the deaths were swift and, it would appear, without pain.”
She told Philpott that women were his “chattels”, saying: “You barked orders and they would obey. You were the kingpin, no one else mattered.”
Senior investigating officer Det Supt Kate Meynell said it was an “incredibly tragic” case.
“Six innocent children died as a result of the actions of their parents, the very people who should have protected them against danger,” she said.
“The Philpotts and Paul Mosley showed no regard for the safety of the children and, since the fire, have shown no remorse for their actions. They have lied throughout the investigation and court case. There were plenty of opportunities to admit their guilt but they never did and persisted with their denials.”
Dawn Bestwick, Philpott’s sister, told reporters waiting outside court justice had been done for the children. “Victory to them,” she said. “They’ve gone down. That’s it.” She said the youngsters could now “rest in peace”.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved